Sticks, Stones, And Words

Written by Mandi L. Fields

It is difficult to watch the events that occurred on August 12th in Charlottesville, Virginia. To know that such racism and hatred still exists in America can be soul-crushing. Our country watched in horror as racial slurs were chanted by torch-wielding, self-proclaimed, white supremacists, counter-protestors were wounded and killed by a domestic terrorist in a speeding car, and two officers lost their lives when their helicopter crashed near the scene. It sounds like a sad chapter in a history book. Yet, there were still hidden nuggets of underreported discrimination that day.

While every news outlet reported the unfolding events of the Charlottesville riot, there was story after story of the terrible slogans and incantations being spewed by the Unite the Right protestors. Then, there was one I felt on a very personal level. According to an article in the HuffPost, “With Confederate flags and Nazi memorabilia on full display, they also chanted, “Fuck you, Faggots!’” I made the mistake of watching a video of this event, and I could feel the anger in their voices. It was unclear what provoked the attention towards the LGBTQ community, but I could only assume that they simply didn’t fit into an ideal world of Unite the Right members. The only comfort found was within the large, diverse group of people who stood in solidarity against the abusive rhetoric.

Coming out to the world as gay, bisexual, transgender, or anything outside of societal norms, can be daunting. As a lesbian, I personally can’t think of any other slur more hurtful than the word faggot. Coupled with the words, fuck you, it is a strong, clear message that we are not wanted or accepted by some. It’s important to remind ourselves that those filled with inexplicable anger are the ones whom are flawed. While sticks and stones can indeed physically break us, words can emotionally decimate us if we allow it. If I could send any message to my LGBTQ family, and everybody else who was targeted by hate on that dreadful day, I would encourage them to stand proud, never hide, and fight rage with love.

Source: Campbell, Andy and Mathias, Christopher. “White Supremacist Rally Triggers Violence in Charlottesville.Huffpost.08/12/17. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-nationalist-charlottesville-virginia_us_598e3fa8e4b0909642972007

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